Thursday, November 17, 2005

Another 'Why didn't I think of it" moment...

Six years ago when I lived in Little Rock, working at the newspaper there, I left one office my day to go to a city council meeting. As I walked to my car a block or so away ('cause the damn paper was too cheap to pay for a parking lot!), a big black SUV made a quick turn into an alleyway in front of me, blocking my path on the sidewalk.

The man in the gas-guzzling hog with Razorback decals all over it asked me directions to the mall, which was a little strange since it was all the way across town, and because he seemed local. As I approached the window to offer my assistance, I realized the man had his junk out and was furiously stroking it while sweatily staring into my face. Horrified and disgusted, I called him an asshole (which was probably just the abuse he had been hoping far) and ran around the front of the car, briefly imagining him running me over to get away with his perverted crime. I noticed he had even removed his license plates in order to avoid tracking – premeditation!

This was infuriating to me. Penises aren’t that pretty to begin with, and I certainly didn’t want to be subjected to one I didn’t agree to see, and one that was attached to a sweaty, overweight, Southern-drawly pervert at that. Nor did I appreciate that I unwittingly gave him some kind of sexual satisfaction without my permission. Even more infuriating was when I called my boyfriend at the time and he didn’t get what the big whoop was about – it wasn’t like I was raped after all, was his idea. So what, I saw a penis?

ANYWAY, women are subjected to things like this, of varying degrees, every day. No one’s ever whipped it out to me on the streets of New York (although subway flashers are more common), but I do have to deal with a near-daily assault of catcalls and unflattering dirty talk from jerks I don’t want whispering sweet nothings in my ear. Sometimes I think that your run-of-the-mill dudes don’t even realize this goes on, since if I’m accompanied by another man, it NEVER happens. They only do it when you’re alone. Some days, it's enough to make me scream and some day one of these idiots is going to feel the full force of my knee in his groin, scapegoat for all the randy morons who have come before him.

Until then, there’s a way to fight back. Take a picture, tell your story, and send it to hollabacknyc. And get back a little of the power they like to take from you.

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